Château de Saint Cosme is the leading estate of Gigondas and produces the benchmark wines of the appellation. The property has been in the hands of the Barruol family since 1570. Louis Barruol took over from his father in 1992 making a dramatic shift to quality and converting to biodynamics in 2010.
Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux is the estate’s oldest vineyard and sits near the entrance to the winery. “It was first planted in 1870 following phylloxera. My uncles thought it wasn’t producing enough fruit and planned to uproot it in 1914,” says Louis Barruol, but “World War I interrupted that plan.”
The 1.8-hectare Le Claux—meaning “Clos” in old French—is a field blend of predominately Grenache. Louis Barruol believes 10% of the vineyard is from the original 1870 planting. Vines are replaced by massal selection and the average vine age is 60-years. The wine is made with whole cluster fermentation from indigenous yeasts, is aged in 20% new 228-liter barrels, and bottled without fining or filtration.
The soil at Le Claux is a yellowish limestone marl and produces the most “Burgundian” wine at Saint Cosme. “It’s extremely refined and fresh with lots of bouquet. Its propensity to mature is excellent,” says Barruol. The wine features aromas and flavors of wild strawberries, violet, peat, Chinese Five Spice, and camphor.
Grenache is the pale-colored, red-fruited, and potpourri-scented red grape variety of the southern Rhône and can be paired with both rustic and sophisticated dishes. Full-bodied Grenache-based wines are ideal with stews, braises, and grilled meats, while lighter versions can work well with dark fish and tomato-based dishes such as ratatouille.